Movie Review: Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax- A Sugary Piece of Propaganda Fluff That Comes Off Preachy and Obnoxious Rather Than Cute and Sweet
Before embarking on the frustrating task of reviewing the new Dr. Seuss adaptation The Lorax the first thing to do was look up two words: propaganda and hypocrite. Propaganda is when you use a form of communication to give a point of view with extreme bias in order to sway your intended audience, which for The Lorax it is impressionable children. One might be in full agreement with the intentions behind presenting false or exaggerated information to children in order to convince them of a particular truth, but one should ask themselves is that the point of entertainment? Some films, and particularly auteurs, may definitely portray their own points of view in film as art but The Lorax, as nice as the animation might look, is not art. Hell the film is not even that entertaining unless you’re a 5 year old who is just looking for their forgettable movie fix of the week. Whatever qualms one might have with the Pixar film Wall-E there is no doubt that team worked hard on making a unique love story between two robots worth watching. There is no attainable substance throughout The Lorax, which has a core that is extremely hollow filled with characters that were created based on their frenetic appeal rather than their sympathetic appeal. Now environmentally friendly viewers might see the presenting of this point of view as a good thing despite how inaccurate it might be which then leads us to the other word: hypocrite. This is a multi-million dollar film promoting a multi-million dollar company with the intention of earning millions of dollars on manufactured merchandise and ticket sales and yet they have the nerve to criticize companies for being greedy. The downside of adapting Dr. Seuss is that you’re working with material that is one of a kind yet this film seems like all of the other typical animated manufactured products. Making a bad film when you have state of the art animation technology is a travesty in and of itself but when you bombard your audience with a pretentious lecture that has zero credibility it becomes an incredibly mind-numbing experience.
Illumination Entertainment was behind the creation of Despicable Me, which had a touch of cuteness to it but even more chaos. So it really wasn’t a surprise to see another film by these creators that had the same lack of focus though this time it is showcased with elaborate musical segments that are more obnoxious than they are fun. The most glaring mistake about The Lorax is that the director and writers have clearly missed the simple approach of Dr. Seuss and made their film into a frantic theme park ride (which is soon to come be sure of it) fit only for children who want their minds numbed by a blitzkrieg of colorful nonsense that was put together by blatantly lazy hypocrites. Sacrificing a respect for your audience by preaching an in your face message while also trying to be carefree doesn’t work here because Dr. Seuss wasn’t preachy nor was he carefree. Dr. Seuss books were also quite short so in order to make them into a feature length film there is unfortunately plenty of room for these Hollywood writers to insert their own “creative” material. The potential is always there to adapt Dr. Seuss material but Hollywood has yet to prove they can handle intelligent children material on the grand production scale unless it is Pixar who still has that independent spirit (except for Cars 2 which shares a lot in common with The Lorax). Having crisp animation just isn’t enough anymore but that lesson won’t be learned based on critical examination but rather monetary influence. Those greedy businessmen running those film companies should take the real Lorax’s words to heart, “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
There is never anything wrong with teaching children about conservation but when it is done in such a pretentious and inaccurate fashion it really does a disservice to their critical thinking skills. Taking a stance is one thing but doing it in such a manipulative way aimed at children isn’t really that admirable no matter what the subject might be. And despite The Lorax being the Triumph of the Will of environmental children films there is very little worth in The Lorax’s cinematic qualities, including a watered down plot, cliché characters, and substitutes quality in joke material for just plain cuteness (so it really doesn’t have the propaganda quality as Triumph of the Will). The music is semi-entertaining and casting works relatively well but when you don’t have any other quality elements guiding your film it just lands flat. Certainly children will eat it up like cotton candy but that’s really all that can be said about The Lorax; it’s a manufactured piece of sugary fluff that has little worth to your intellectual, reverential, or cinematic health.